Effective immediately. The phrase – often attached to urgent appointments or dismissals of front-line staff – could be a mantra for chief executives. It is a two-word summary of what many business leaders believe is their purpose: to get things done now. It seems to say: “Not only did I identify the problem, but by the time you read this, I will have dealt with it and moved on to the next challenge.”
The annual shareholders’ meeting of Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha, Nebraska produced a modest mea culpa about how Mr Buffett had initially handled the David Sokol affair, but little sign that the company’s corporate governance or approach to leadership succession will change hugely.
Perhaps it is the wrong venue to expect something radical since, as Dan McCrum reports for the FT, most of the attendees were happy with Mr Buffett’s record as an investor and are not demanding significant changes.
Still, I find it disappointing that Berkshire’s board has so far given no indication of taking a clearer role in selecting Mr Buffett’s successor. He said in a CNBC interview that the board regularly discusses the issue, and that Mr Sokol was not the only (or even the leading) candidate:
“It is a subject that board spends a majority of its time on and people express themselves very vocally at board meetings on the pros and cons of various candidates.”